Cast: Viineet Kumar Singh, Aahana Kumra, Suchitra Pillai, Jatin Goswami, Jitendra Joshi, Siddharth Menon
Director: Patrick Graham, Nikhil Mahajan
Rating: 1.5 stars (out of 5)
A zombie performer is too drunk to be able to take the form of a vicious political fable, Betaal, the original Netflix series, pitted an elite Indian paramilitary task force against British troops who did not live from the Sepoy Rebellion era for unfinished business in the central forests of India. What was caught between the two was the forest dwellers who were labeled Naxals and driven from their homes.
The battle that ensued – this involved the escaping forces of the guardian spirits sworn by the tribes, uncontrolled black magic, and a long-dead colonel “from Britain’s darkest swamps” trapped in the deep tunnels of a village in the forest called Campa – made funny. Betaal is an awkward mix of fantasy land of zombies, Indian folklore and figurative horror genre where the male leader is a man named Vikram. So it can Betaal far behind?
The logic of the death of several deaths as two groups of soldiers – the living is armed with automatic weapons and sophisticated body webcams and communication devices; live dead battle with obsolete rifles and other world powers – face each other in terrible and gruesome encounters.
No doubt, the zombie bite is deadly. But Indian soldiers are all barking and bulls when their leader has repeatedly faded the brain caused by raw wounds even when the threat of annihilation looms over them. After wandering around, spectral robbers from 160 years ago – their eyes glittering red orbs and their coats also red, they were not called Crimson Heads for anything – stepped on their way to the abandoned British military barracks. That’s where the Indian army took refuge. The stage is set for the fight to the end.
Betaal, created by Patrick Graham (Ghoul), starting with a pretty strong tone, raising hopes that this series will explore the impact of capitalistic greed and the notion of curved development on the one hand and the state of marginalized tribal societies on the other. But no luck. What we get is the poppycock is released.
The first two episodes of Betaal – the series produced by Red Chillies Entertainment consists of only four, each about 45 minutes in length – produced several jumps of fear and made several related points. But as soon as the zombie is released, it turns into a warm thrust-and-parry show that keeps the mountain out of molehill, uh … a tunnel. The main figures in military uniforms, including the commander of the Baaz Forces (Suchitra Pillai), second commander Vikram Sirohi (Viineet Kumar Singh) and deputy commander Ahluwalia (Aahana Kumra) – may have the opportunity to evolve into conflicting figures. demons from their own minds as well as zombies on prey outside their hideouts have the event followed up with initial clues to epic conflicts between forest dwellers threatened with eviction and highway construction companies supported by state power and big money.
It is difficult to launch a serious plot analysis of this set of traits, but let us try it anyway. Betaal, written by Graham with Suhani Kanwar, explores the dynamics of power at two levels. One strand has to do with the formal relations that emerge from the command line in the security forces who have been asked to drive the tribal people out of their homes while the virtuous carrots of a better life depend on them. Here the concept of a “good soldier” – someone who unhesitatingly follows orders from his superiors – is resurrected. Others depend on an unequal balance between the strong (self-serving, greedy) and those who are dispossessed (suppressed, deceived). A builder Ajay Mudhalvan (Jitendra Joshi) wants to clear the forests of the original inhabitants as soon as possible because the country’s chief minister is staying a few more days to officially inaugurate the work of reopening the road through the cursed mountain.
Put pressure on the Baaz Squad to clear the terrain and open the way for bulldozers. A number of armed soldiers marched into the tunnel to drive out the rebels who might be hiding there. They pay a high price.
BetaalA nod to civil liberties versus a half-hearted national interest debate. In a TV program at the beginning of the series, a news anchor accused a Muslim scholar of being “liberal left-wing trash”. The last crime: he questioned the development model which gave the tribal population no say at all in the planning process. A senior woman in uniform added her two parts to the discourse by pointing to the great sacrifice the army made to ensure the safety of people such as outspoken human rights activists. He could predictably end up wondering why the professor did not go to Pakistan if he was very unhappy with what was happening in India. It turns out it’s just a dump line. The thematic strand disappeared as fast as it seemed! The next story is the strange talk suffered by severe tunnel vision. While you are wondering who let the zombies out, the 19th century British commander of the 90th Taunton Volunteer, a group of ferocious men, returned to the living world to continue his mission to “grind these savages into the ground”.
But Lieutenant Colonel John Lynedoch was not the only one who thought that forest dwellers could be removed. Words such as barbarians, savages, and bumpkin are preoccupied by others also to express what outsiders think about these peace-loving people struggling to protect their traditional way of life.
Adding to the chaos was the recruitment of the new Baaz Squad Nadir Haq (Siddharth Menon), who invited huge problems in his enthusiasm to prove his value to the person he looked at; a young girl Saanvi (Syna Anand), who is in danger of being sacrificed to calm an angry person Betaal; a Puniya (Manjiri Pupala) woman who, like her people, believes that everything you need to ward off zombies is the herb turmeric, salt and ash; and a soldier in conflict with Assad Akbar (Jatin Goswami) who feels uncomfortable with the whole idea of heroism on the battlefield at the expense of innocent human lives.
Viineet Kumar Singh, whose character has several aspects that seem quite meaningful, provides a solid performance. Other roles, except to a certain extent played by Manjiri Pupala, are not sufficiently equipped. Therefore, it is not surprising that many actors find themselves competing with zombies.
Do you want to test yourself and see if you have it in the face of the weather Betaal? Banish that thought.
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